سورة الأنفال   

Surah Name: Al-Anfaal Meaning: The Booty

  • Revealed at Madinah
  • • This is a Madni Surah. It is the sequel to Surah Al-A'raf, which highlighted the aftermath of infidelity and polytheism vis-à-vis faith and piety. Al-Anfal reveals the practical demonstration of these consequences. It portrays the way their pride and hostility of the infidels was reduced to ashes in the encounter with piety and faithfulness of the Companions-RAU, of the Holy Prophet-SW at Badr. Outwardly it was a struggle by a few hundred men, but in terms of its results the battle of Badr proved to be a turning point in the history of mankind. It altered the pace and changed the course of events. The Muslims seized booty after the victory at Badr and the question arose how should it be handled, because for all preceding nations booty was prohibited. They would pile it up in the field and a fire from the heavens would consume it as a sign of Divine Approval. If at times the booty was left intact, no one would touch it considering it to be inauspicious. It is amongst the blessings of the holy Prophet-SW that booty was made lawful. Anfal is the plural of Nafl which means bonus and that is why Salat or charity which is not obligatory is called Nafl. The booty seized in Jihad is also called Anfal because it is not the motive behind the struggle. The motive is to uphold the truth and the booty is only bonus for the participants and revenue for the State.

    This booty is of two categories: Faiy and Anfal. The former consists of what the enemy leaves behind when he surrenders voluntarily without fight, while the latter is won after fighting a battle. Since the Battle of Badr was the very first clash between the Muslims and the infidels and it was also the first to be determined who gets what. The Commentators explain that when the infidels deserted the battlefield at Badar, the Companions-RAU were regrouped into three contingents. One followed the fleeing; the second collected the booty while the third gathered around the Holy Prophet-SW for protection against an unexpected attack and also to act as an operational reserve for any emergency. All the three forces were important in their own way, so the matter of division of the booty amongst them was placed before the Holy Prophet-SW.

  • Total Number of Rukū / Sections 10
  • Total Number of Āyāt / Parts 75
  • Sūrah / Chapter number 8
  • Rukū / Section 5 contains Āyāt / Parts 7
  • Siparah/ Volume 9 & 10


قُل لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ إِن يَنتَهُواْ يُغَفَرْ لَهُم مَّا قَدْ سَلَفَ وَإِنْ يَعُودُواْ فَقَدْ مَضَتْ سُنَّةُ الأَوَّلِينِ

Qul lillatheena kafaroo in yantahoo yughfar lahum ma qad salafa wain yaAAoodoo faqad madat sunnatu alawwaleen(a)

Say you-SW to those who have disbelieved if they now desist, what in past will be forgiven them, and if they revert, then already has gone forth the dispensation for the ancients.


وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلّه فَإِنِ انتَهَوْاْ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

Waqatiloohum hatta la takoona fitnatun wayakoona a(l)ddeenu kulluhu lillahi faini intahaw fainna Allaha bima yaAAmaloona baser(un)

Fight them until there be no persecution and religion be wholly Allah-SWT's. So if they now desist, then Allaah-SWT is the Beholder of what they are doing.


وَإِن تَوَلَّوْاْ فَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ مَوْلاَكُمْ نِعْمَ الْمَوْلَى وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ

Wain tawallaw fa(i)AAlamoo anna Allaha mawlakum niAAma almawla waniAAma alnnaseer(u)

And if they turn away, then know that Allaah-SWT is your-SW Patron, Excellent Patron, and Excellent Helper!


وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّمَا غَنِمْتُم مِّن شَيْءٍ فَأَنَّ لِلّهِ خُمُسَهُ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ إِن كُنتُمْ آمَنتُمْ بِاللّهِ وَمَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَى عَبْدِنَا يَوْمَ الْفُرْقَانِ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ وَاللّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

Wa(i)AAlamoo annama ghanimtum min shayin faanna lillahi khumusahu wali(l)rrasooli walithee alqurba wa(a)lyatama wa(a)lmasakeeni wa(i)bni a(l)ssabeeli in kuntumamantum bi(A)llahi wama anzalna AAala AAabdina yawma alfurqani yawma iltaqaaljamAAani wa(A)llahu AAala kulli shayin qadeer(un)

And know that whatever of booty you-SW get then verily to Allaah-SWT belongs one-fifth thereof and to the Messenger-SW and to his-SW kindred and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, if you have believed in Allaah-SWT and what We-SWT sent down upon Our-SWT bondman on the day of distinction, the day when the two hosts met. And Allaah-SWT is over everything Potent.


إِذْ أَنتُم بِالْعُدْوَةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُم بِالْعُدْوَةِ الْقُصْوَى وَالرَّكْبُ أَسْفَلَ مِنكُمْ وَلَوْ تَوَاعَدتَّمْ لاَخْتَلَفْتُمْ فِي الْمِيعَادِ وَلَـكِن لِّيَقْضِيَ اللّهُ أَمْراً كَانَ مَفْعُولاً لِّيَهْلِكَ مَنْ هَلَكَ عَن بَيِّنَةٍ وَيَحْيَى مَنْ حَيَّ عَن بَيِّنَةٍ وَإِنَّ اللّهَ لَسَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

Ith antum bi(a)lAAudwati a(l)ddunya wahum bi(a)lAAudwati alquswa wa(al)rrakbu asfala minkum walaw tawaAAadtum la(i)khtalaftum fee almeeAAadi walakin liyaqdiya Allahu amran kana mafAAoolan liyahlika man halaka AAan bayyinatin wayahya man hayya AAan bayyinatin wainna Allaha lasameeAAun AAaleem(un)

And recall when you-SW were on the hither side and they were on the yonder side and the caravan below you-SW. And if you-SW were mutually to make the appointment you-SW would have surely failed the appointment. But the action was so brought about in order that Allaah-SWT may accomplish a decree already ordered, so that he who was to perish might perish after an evidence and he who was to survive may survive after an evidence. And verily Allaah-SWT is Hearing, Knowing.


إِذْ يُرِيكَهُمُ اللّهُ فِي مَنَامِكَ قَلِيلاً وَلَوْ أَرَاكَهُمْ كَثِيرًا لَّفَشِلْتُمْ وَلَتَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي الأَمْرِ وَلَـكِنَّ اللّهَ سَلَّمَ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ

Ith yureekahumu Allahu fee manamika qaleelan walaw arakahum katheeran lafashiltum walatanazaAAtum fee alamri walakinna Allaha sallama innahu AAaleemun bithati a(l)ssudoor(i)

And recall when Allaah-SWT showed them few to you-SW in your-SW dream. Had He-SWT shown them numerous to you-SW, surely you-SW would have "flagged and surely you-SW would have wrangled over the affair, but Allaah-SWT spared you-SW. Verily He-SWT is the Knower of what is in the breasts.


وَإِذْ يُرِيكُمُوهُمْ إِذِ الْتَقَيْتُمْ فِي أَعْيُنِكُمْ قَلِيلاً وَيُقَلِّلُكُمْ فِي أَعْيُنِهِمْ لِيَقْضِيَ اللّهُ أَمْرًا كَانَ مَفْعُولاً وَإِلَى اللّهِ تُرْجَعُ الأمُورُ

Waith yureekumoohum ithi iltaqaytum fee aAAyunikum qaleelan wayuqallilukum fee aAAyunihim liyaqdiya Allahu amran kana mafAAoolan waila Allahi turjaAAu alomoor(u)

And recall when He-SWT showed them few in your-SW eyes when you-SW met, and lessened you-SW in their eyes in order that Allaah-SWT might accomplish an affair already ordained; and to Allaah-SWT are all affairs returned.


In The Name of Allah-SWT the Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

The Mercy of Allaah-SWT is fathomless and can embrace the non believers if they give up their defiant attitude and obey the Holy Prophet-SW, who-SW is being told to convey to the infidels that if they regret their past follies, Allah-SWT will forgive all that they had done. If a non-believer accepts Islam, it erases all his past sins. But the embracing of Islam calls for a complete rejection of infidelity; for faith is not considered as valid when a person claims to have accepted Islam yet practises idolatry. Thus if a non-believer repents and mends his ways he will certainly be forgiven.



A believer's repentance is readily accepted. The essence of repentance calls for a positive change in conduct while seeking forgiveness of past sins. Lack of expiation will lead to the same consequences as befell the preceding nations. If the infidels persist in their hostility, the believers cannot give up resistance. And if the infidels intend to obliterate the righteous and the true faith through bloodshed, it is obligatory for the believers to fight back until they are vanquished and Allah-SWT's Din prevails.


Jihad an Obligation

The learned Commentators explain that Jihad is an obligation for all times. If the infidels try to harm or massacre the believers, they must be fought back. Similarly, it is the duty of every believer to uphold Islam countering the infidels in speech, writing and in every sphere of life. It is obligatory for Muslims to compete with the non-believers and establish the supremacy of Islam in every field rather than imitating them in their life styles. For example, adopting their eating habits or a physical appearance or dress is forbidden. However, to acquire modern knowledge to give an edge to the Muslim community over the non-believing nations and to compete with them in every field are the marks of a believer.


If the non-believers refrain from harming the believers or the Cause of Islam, their vexation will be an un-Islamic attitude. And if they hide behind the mask of hypocricy, Allaah-SWT is well Aware of everything and can never be deceived. Thus if the infidels try to harm the Muslims under the cover of making peace and breach their treaties, it should not be a cause of much concern for the believers for they must have a firm belief that they enjoy Divine Protection and Allaah-SWT indeed is the Best of Helpers. If the non-believers are well-equipped, let them be, for the Divine Succour is only available to the believers, and is the sole guarantee to victory.


While Jihad is under discussion, the rules for the distribution of booty are also being laid down. Booty is the fortune seized by the believers as a result of their victory over the infidels. It is natural that the vanquished loses much of his possessions, which are captured by the victorious. In the ages gone by, whenever the Messengers-AS of Allah-SWT captured the booty, they used to pile it up in the open. A flame from the heavens would reduce it to ashes as a token of Divine Acceptance of Jihad. Otherwise the pile would remain intact.


The Battle of Badr was the very first Jihad waged by the Muslims as an organised army on Allah-SWT's Command. Along with many other blessings of Badr the booty was also allowed to the believers and its distribution was spelled out. It was declared to be a reward purely from Allaah-SWT for the Holy Prophet-SW and his-SW Ummah. It was to be divided into five equal portions, of which one will go to him-SW and the remaining four to the participants. The portion dedicated to Allaah-SWT will go to the Govt Treasury (Bait-al-Mal) while its distribution will be at the discretion of the Holy Prophet-SW. Allaah-SWT specified the heads for the expense of this portion. Staying within these heads, the Holy Prophet-SW could spend it as he-SW liked on the affairs of the State, for his-SW personal needs or on his-SW relatives.


Zakat termed as "grime of the people", was forbidden to the Holy Prophet-SW and his-SW relatives. In comparison, the booty was termed as the "purest of the provisions," and in its division the needs of the Holy Prophet-SW and his-SW relatives were given priority. Moreover, the orphans, the poor and the wayfarers would be granted whatever they deserve on merit. Once, the Holy Prophet-SW's beloved daughter Hadhrat Fatimah-RAU requested him-SW to allocate her a servant. He-SW refused to give her one saying that the Companions-RAU of Suffah were more deserving. It must be remembered that this rule of giving away one-fifth (Khams) is applicable only to the booty attained through Jihad, whereas the Shi‘ites have mixed it up with Zakat payable over all forms of possessions. The practice of the Holy Prophet-SW was strictly followed by the Righteous Caliphs-RAU, in as much as the Caliph 'Umar-RAU had appointed Hadhrat Ali-RAU as the custodian of the Khams for its distribution amongst the deserving. The remaining four portions went to the participants of the battles who were no longer poor and had rather become quite affluent.


The Battle of Badr has been declared as the Day of Distinction, which clearly separated the truth from falsehood. It was a Day of the supremacy of truth and the downfall of falsehood. The expedition of Badr laid down the foundation on which the Message of Allah-SWT was destined to stand forever. It was the Day when the foundation stone was laid for a real and eternal revolution for all times to come. It was the Day of a decisive victory for those who fought for the truth, supported directly by the Almighty Allaah-SWT .


The victory at Badr brought about through Divine Succour was indeed the first wave of a great revolution. It was not possible by mere human and material resources. The booty the Battle of Badr yielded, and the rules of its distribution were also amongst the blessings of Allaah-SWT .


Booty and Allah-SWT's Support

The era of the four Righteous Caliphs-RAU was marked with victories of Islam, which was a proof that Allah-SWT's Support was with them. It was also an evidence of their honesty in disposing off the booty in accordance with the instructions of the Holy Prophet-SW. Had they not complied, they would have certainly lost Divine Help. The Shi'ites propagate that the rights of the kin of the Holy Prophet-SW were usurped in this era, which is a completely incorrect accusation. Rather, they themselves have created new precepts changing the very basics of Islam (such as the Kalimah, Aazaan, Method of Salaat, down to doubting the authenticity of the Quran, denial of Hadith, etc). Still they not only claim to be Muslims, but also raise objection against the Companions-RAU.


The description of the events of Badr reveals that the believers were stationed at one end of the battlefield, while the infidels were on the farther end. Meanwhile the trade caravan crossed them both approximately three miles down the hill along the coastline. At this stage none of the two armies were positioned for the battle. The Muslims were less in number and provisions. To make matters worse the area where they had camped had no water nearby and the ground was soft and sandy, making movement extremely difficult. When the caravan had escaped safely, there was no obvious reason to fight.


On the other end, the infidels though having no problems with supplies and manpower had basically come to protect the caravan, which had escaped unharmed. They also saw no reason for an encounter. Moreover they had witnessed many miracle of the Holy Prophet-SW in Makkah. The memory of the humiliation they had faced on the night of the Holy Prophet-SW's migration to Madinah was still fresh. They did not really see any reason to fight. Going back safely and planning something better was their obvious preference. The situation was such that even if the twain had vowed to fight one another, they would still have changed their plans as apparently none of them expected to gain anything from the battle.


Allah-SWT's Decision Provides the Cause

But Allaah-SWT had decided that the battle was to be fought in such a way that the truth would prevail and the falsehood would perish. The battle was predestined, not withstanding the fact that there was no apparent edge, which the Muslims had over the infidels. The important fact highlighted here is that the victory at Badr was purely by Divine Succour and Support, which, in turn, was a proof of the authenticity of Prophethood and the Divinity of Islam. The only reason behind the Makkans' defeat was Allaah-SWT ’s, Rage for their waywardness. The truth was distinctly distinguished from falsehood so that whoever wished to continue with his infidelity and self-destruction may not have any misconceptions.


Life and Death

If inspite of the glaring evidence someone opts for eternal mortification and doom does so at his own free will. The word death here also refers to infidelity and a deprivation from a cognizant heart. The Quran has occasionally termed this condition as death. The manifestations of Allah-SWT's Support at Badr are also a source of reassurance for those who seek life i.e. the guided ones. Here, life refers to the light of faith and the spiritual states. Those who wish to seek these qualities can attain them easily, as the righteous and the truthful have become distinct on the Day of Distinction.


The Cause and His-SWT Help of the Aulia in Temporal Life

Allah-SWT knows and hears all that people say. Whenever two people confer, it is known to Allaah-SWT . The intentions of the hearts cannot be concealed from Him-SWT , and it is on these intentions that Allaah-SWT determines the results. The nefarious designs of the Makkans were known to Him-SWT and so were the sincere motives of the believers. Hence He-SWT helped the righteous and created such circumstances, which established their supremacy over the world. The intelligence about the trade caravan, the decision of the Muslims to intercept it, the Makkans despatch of troops for its protection, the escape of the caravan and finally the clash of both the forces were all causes that He-SWT created in order to help the truthful.


The Holy Prophet-SW dreamt that the enemy's army was heavily outnumbered by the Muslims. This was a token from Allah-SWT, indicating the enemy's impending defeat, which not only raised the morale of the Muslims but also drove out any possible difference of opinion about whether to fight the battle or not.


Allah-SWT's Friends have Human Instincts

Nevertheless, Allaah-SWT protected the Companions-RAU against any conflict by making the Holy Prophet-SW's dream a source of reassurance. This is because He-SWT knows the secrets buried deep in the hearts. He-SWT accepted their deep-rooted sincerity and created such circumstances, which spared the believers a trial. This proves that Allah-SWT's Friends are not supernatural people and possess similar emotions and feelings as other human beings. However, Allah-SWT creates circumstances conducive to their temperaments or grants them the strength to tolerate and withstand hardships. These rewards were showered at Badr because of the sincerity and devotion of their Qulub.


As the events unfolded after the Holy Prophet-SW's dream, and when the troops came face to face, Allaah-SWT made the enemy appear scant in number to the believers, to the extent that Hadhrat 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud-RAU confided to a fellow Companion-RAU that the Makkans seem to be no more than ninety in number. The latter estimated them to be one hundred, whereas the Makkans were one thousand. Similarly Allaah-SWT made the already small Army of the believers appear even smaller to the infidels as is evident from the remarks of Abu Jahl, who said that their number did not seem to exceed those that can consume a single camel. The Arabs believed that a camel was sufficient for a hundred people. Allaah-SWT the Omnipotent, Who-SWT can do whatever He-SWT likes without any visible causes, created so many causes for the believer's reassurance and victory. A quick review of these events; the descent of angels, the avoidable clash of two armies totally un-equal in number and armament etc validates the Divine Law that in this world of causes and effects one should not fail to employ all the available resources without a lawful excuse.


Allah-SWT gathered all these causes to highlight what He-SWT had willed i.e. His-SWT Approval of the believers and His-SWT Wrath for the infidels who opposed the Companions-RAU, so that the righteous till Yaum al Qiyamah, may follow in the footsteps of the Companions-RAU at Badr, while those who opt for destruction may have no excuse for their ignorance. And it must be clearly understood that whether it is the acquisition of spiritual states or the attainment of material effects all matters have to be ultimately presented before Him-SWT .